Thursday, February 28, 2013

Give. Share. Repent.

Photo credit to Bro. Nicer Natulla, CMF
If you were part of the plant kingdom, what would you like to be? Barren Bush or a Tree? According to Jeremiah, one is like a barren bush not when one shows to be napaka antipatiko kundi that’s when he puts his confidence or trust in human beings. Like a bush because he / she is condemned to live in the desert. On the contrary, one is like a tree when he/she trusts in the Lord and puts his confidence in the Lord… coz its just like ur planting near a water fountain or spring that when dry seasons come, it continues to live and bear fruit coz may tubig nga.

I believe that we are living in a culture of a bush. Our technology is now advanced, our way of living is advanced, but we tend to be too proud to be auto sufficient, only confides in one’s own force. That’s why it doesn’t last most of the time. We live in a permanent paradox or contradictions: we achieve many things in technology but fails in humanity. Humanity still the same. Naiba lang ang level. Today we are not better than those who have lived twenty years or forty years ago. We have the same problems in the society and it continues to get worst.

The parable of Lazarus and of the rich man is one of the keys in understanding our society today.

Why conflicts arise in our world? Because we have built a humanity in which the strongest, prey on the weak, in which we have not taken seriously our status as children of God and brothers! This is our society. This is what we are. This is how we are. Or this is the way we let our lives be which is something different.

We have built a humanity in which the strongest prey on the weak, in which we have not taken seriously our status as children of God and brothers! The rich become richer. The poor become poorer. It’s not the money that is the problem, it’s not the money that makes one poor or rich. It’s the attitude that makes one rich or poor. If you gain money and you turn to be like a barren bush: mangagantso, magnanakaw, manloloko, kuripot, mata pobre you will be condemned to live in the desert. Mag iisa ka sa buhay mo. But if you turn yourself to a tree, bearing fruits, for sure, you’ll be rich and at the same time happy and contented in life hangang sa tumanda na ng lubusan.

Children of God? Well if we say we are all children of God, you are a child of God, he or she is a child of God, therefore we are all brothers and sisters. Then therefore we must be treating well each other. Kahit na alila mo yan, kapatid mo pa rin yan. Kahit na maid mo lang yan o hardinero mo, kapatid mo pa rin yan. Kahit na utusan lang yan kapatid mo pa rin yan. Kahit na amoy basura yan, pangit, nanganagamoy at ikaw ay mabango, maganda, malinis… kapatid mo pa rin yan. Bat mo tinataasan ng kilay. Why give the same treatment that the rich man gave to Lazarus.

I am reminded now by a book that I read in Philosophy, the leviathan. If a man becomes not a brother to his fellowmen, he will surely turn into a leviathan. A wolf that would eat everything just to be contented. A wolf that would eat all the sheep as long as he wants.

In this season of lent, we are asked to look at our lives… how’s our greediness? How do we treat our fellowmen? How do you treat those who have less than what you have? Are we like barren bushes, or are we like trees that bears fruits. Are you contented in life? Are you not contented of what you have? You have many? Give. Share. Repent.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Plastic

Photo credits to Bro. Nicer Natulla, CMF



Only one thing that Jesus is pointing out today in the Gospel, one attitude that we have that is very common in everybody, an attitude that in today's gospel is strongly opposed by Jesus: its Hypocrisy. I might have a strong reflection today so sorry if the truth will hurt you. But this is what we have to look at as we go on with our Lenten preparation for Easter.

Jesus can understand all our human weaknesses for he came down into the well of weaknesses (sa balon ng ating kahinaan), our human race. But what do not support is the cultivation of a simple appearance. Tagalugin ko kasi walang masyadong dating sa akin at sa inyo. Natatangap at naiintindihan ni Hesus ang ating kahinaan subalit di niya matangap ang ating pagiging PAKITANG TAO lamang. Plastic kung baga. Jesus's deep religious experience can not tolerate the behavior of those who claim to speak "in the name of God."

What Jesus says to the religious authorities of his time retains its strength relative to the religious authorities of all time, not only to me, to us church leaders but also to each one of you here:

The teachers of the law have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. If we translate it, they got the tendency to pontificate, na maghusga. To identify our opinion to what God asks, is a temptation that affects us all believers. Sa kastila may expression na sinasabi "sentar catedra", o sa mga universities malimit natin marinig yan which pertains to the teaching power or the seat of a teaching faculty. How many times do we "seat in cathedra" in our analysis of society, in our judgments about people and situations, to point to God to one side or another?

My dear friends, elections is very near. Avoid electing politicians who are pakitang tao lamang. Avoid those who are more of words but lack of action. Avoid those who is good in front of you because he/she is asking for your vote but when seated gets all the money of your country. And if you are one of them, do as the first reading tells you: Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.

Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Wash yourselves clean!

In other words. Repent. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; But if you refuse and resist, the sword shall consume you: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ask, Seek and Knock


Photo credits to Bro. Nicer Natulla, CMF
Good evening my dear brothers and sisters. / There are three verbs that accompany us today, three invitations of Jesus to our prayer and life, /"Ask,/ seek,/ knock."
 
It is not bad to ask./ In all religions, it is the easiest way of praying: to ask. / However, sometimes we are ashamed to ask because of our pride. /Mahilig tayo magsabi "If you need anything, count on me/ if you want help, let me know/ if you want to lend a hand here I am ....”/ We seem to be relatively easy to offer our help, especially to the people we care for./ However, when we are in need,/ most of us, most of the time,/ we try to resolve them without asking help from others. /We have learned to be self-sufficient,/ we prefer not to owe favors./ Ayaw natin ng utang na loob. / And above all, it costs us a lot to recognize our fragility./ We believe that we are sufficient/ strong,/ and we can manage. Kaya ko to./ Perhaps this is one of the many thoughts why some can’t understand Benedict XVI's resignation as Pope. It's considered as scandal. Because It is not usual for a public leader to publicly acknowledge his fragility, his weariness, his fatigue, to ask others to pray for him/her, who would say well I can’t force my body now to serve ... to be able to say NO. No more. Tingnan nyo mga politico./ But we should be like Queen Esther who said: "Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God.

            Jesus is someone who knows how to ask. He asked John the Baptist to baptize him, allowing him to be one among the sinners, receiving baptism from his hands. He asked the help of a few colleagues, disciples, to assist him in his difficult task. And in time of need, during that night in Gethsemane, he asked his close company to be awake and pray with him. And since he has nowhere to lay his head, he have had to borrow a donkey for the day of his entry into Jerusalem, and a place to celebrate the Last Supper with his disciples. When he felt sorry for the people who are hungry and lost, like sheep without a shepherd, he asked for the 5 loaves of bread and two fishes and then asked his disciples to give them to the people to eat them. And during his last hour he asked to pass the cup of bitterness. And on his death, he asked John to take care of his mother. Etc etc

            Jesus had the experience of having asked and found. In people, well, he do not find always what he ask, and from his Father God. And so he said: Ask ... that your Father God will give you ... because he is always good. And as he has practiced: Dare also to ask men. To ask your fellowmen. Your neighbor.
 
            The second verb or invitation by Jesus gives us hope. For anyone who "seeks” shall find. But seek from God. The Lord gives what is fitting for us. As the responsorial psalm said "When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me." "Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me." Only the ones who seek: FINDS. Alangan, di kaya pupunta sayo ang bagay na di mo hinanap.

            The third verb is KNOCK or CALL. Jesus keeps on knocking at our door, to see if we let him in and share dinner with him. Jesus keeps on calling and asking persons who can collaborate with him in his work. Pero madalas “MAY KATOK” tayo pagkumakatok sa Dios. Malimit sinasabi natin asan ka nung kailangan kita Panginoon? Bakit ako nagkakaganito? Bakit nagkaganito pamilya ko? bakit nagkaganito mga anak ko? bakit nagkaganito buhay ko? Malimit o minsan hindi tayo tumatawag, dumudulog, kumakatok sa kanya kapag tayo ay masaya.

       My dear friends, I invite you to pray today with this 3 verbs that Jesus had presented to us. LET US LEARN TO ASK GOD AND ASK FROM OUR NEIGHBORS. Do not be proud not to ask if you need. SEEK GOD AND SEEK OTHERS. KNOCK ON GOD AND KNOCK ON OTHERS. And that others too may be able to ask, seek, and nock ... and find our humble response to them. Good evening.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dejate que te lleve

Dejarse llevar y ceder forman parte de la realidad de nuestras vidas. Cuando nacemos, tenemos que dejar de lado el cordón umbilical y el agua que nos sostiene para que pudiera respirar y tener una nueva vida. Cuando empezamos a crecer, nuestros padres de vez en cuando dejar de lado nuestras manos y nosotros de ellos hasta que estamos totalmente de aprender a caminar y descubrir muchas cosas en la vida. Cuando comenzamos a ir a la escuela, tenemos que dejar de lado las cosas que están confinadas sólo en nuestros hogares para que podamos saber más sobre la vida y la sociedad. Entonces comenzamos a tener nuevas perspectivas en la vida. Cuando empezamos a amar, empezamos a dejar de lado el amor que teníamos para nuestros padres y comienza a dejar de lado las cosas que queremos para nosotros mismos para que nuestra querida encontraría la vida nueva en nosotros y nosotros en ellos. Cuando el matrimonio llega, la pareja tiene que separarse de sus padres para tener y empezar una nueva vida, una nueva familia, un nuevo comienzo. Cuando se convierten en padres, se aprende a dejar de lado sus deseos personales y los hábitos con el fin de dar forma y dar vida a sus hijos. Cuando te haces mayor, empiezas a dejar de comer carne de cerdo o alimentos demasiado grasos o dejar de mal habito o comienzan a dejar de lado el trabajo que tenía con el fin de alargar los últimos años de su vida. Y cuando se muere, hay que dejar de lado esa respiración que has aprendido desde el momento en que dejó el agua en el vientre de su madre hasta su último con el fin de pasar a la segunda vida. Una vida que es para siempre.

Tenemos que aprender a dejarse llevar para vivir. Tenemos que aprender a vivir una vida que está llena de dejarse llevar, si queremos vivir de verdad.

(Una parte de la homilía para el entierro de un muerto, 07 de febrero 2013 IHMP)


Let Go, Let Live

Letting-go and giving up are part of the realities of our lives. When we are born, we have to let go of the umbilical cord and the water that holds us so that we could breath and have a new life. When we started to grow, our parents would from time to time let go of our hands and us of theirs until we fully learn to walk and to discover many things in life. When we start to go to school, we have to let go of the things that are just confined in our homes in order for us to know more about life and the society. Then we start to have new perspectives in life. When we start to love, we start to let go of the love we had for our parents and starts to let go of the things we want for ourselves so that our beloved would find new life in us or us in them. When marriage comes, the couple has to leave their parents to have and begin with a new life, a new family, a new start. When you become parents, you learn to let go of your personal desires and habits in order to give way and give life to your children. When you get old, you start to let go of eating too much pork or fatty foods or stop from bad habbit or start to let go of the work you had in order to lengthen the last few years of your life. And when you die, you have to let go of that breath that you learned from the time you gave up the water in your mother's womb until your last in order to move on to the second life. A life that is forever.

We must learn to let go in order to live. We must learn to live a life that is full of letting-go if we wish to truly live.

(An excerpt from the homily for the dead, 7 February 2013 IHMP)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Familiarity

DSC04899Familiarity is very important in creating and in dealing with relationships. When you are familiar with the one that you are relating with, lets take the example of lovers, it is easier to move around during dates, to find ways to please her or to cope up with courtship problems. I’m talking here based from experience. Jejejeje. When you are sent to the mission together with a partner or a team, familiarity of the team member’s personality and capacity is very important so that the team would work smoothly and achieve the goal and frictions could be avoided or evaded. Furthermore, when you are tasked to lead an organization, you have to be familiar with your members and constituents or else you’ll never turn out to be a good leader but rather a catastrophic one. Likewise, a religious, before she enters a congregation, she has to be familiar with what kind of congregation she is entering, its apostolate, its way of living, its ministry, its lifestyle or else she would get culture shocked if she is not familiar of the world she is entering. Moreover, you got to be familiar with the Lord, before we get to recognize his presence in others and in the world.

But on the other hand, familiarity could also lead to separation of partners. When one is too familiar of the negative traits of the partner, the other starts to be irritated and starts to look at the partner without that same “eyes of love”. It is the same when the team member of a mission team gets so familiar with the hard headedness or the pagiging gastador or the kaartehan of the other member so much so that whatever the other tries to do or say, it is not being accepted nor recognized anymore. Kasi you would say: “Ah ganyan talaga yan cia. Ganyan ka talaga. She don’t accept suggestions, she is hard headed etc, etc.” And the team starts to break and the goal is never achieved. Sometimes too, when one is so familiar of what a member of the congregation did in the past, that person is put in the box that whenever there are change of assignments or new projects that arises, the superior who is too familiar with the member, sets him or her aside and would not consider that that person anymore and never consider that she could still have another chance and may be able to do well this time. Or if you know where the person is coming from, you would say: “ah, nothing good will come from her if you put him here or there” Sometimes too, when one is too familiar with the congregation where she belongs, she tends to forget what is the real essence of the existence of her congregation and she starts to look for other things that congregations have or do. And sometimes it is also true that when you get too familiar with the Lord, when you know that He forgives and forgives every time you commit sin, then you would tend to repeat the same sin over and over again… anyway, as we usually hear or say: “papatawarin naman ako ng dios… I know that…”

When familiarity is not used well, it produces martyrs, it produces pain, it produces death. When familiarity in the negative sense reigns, new ventures, new innovations, new styles, new ideas that surges simply dies down. Miracles never happens when you don’t leave a space or give a new look to a person who is too familiar. Miracles can never happen if you do not believe that something good can happen out of a familiar situation or a familiar reality. That’s what our Gospel for today is telling us.

This is the reflection that I wish you to reflect upon today: Are you familiar of your community members? Does your familiarity, leaves room for the growth and change to that person or your familiarity of that person, persecutes the other and makes her a martyr forever?
(Mass at the SSJ Provincial House Community, 6 February 2013)